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Clara Ferreira Marques

Vladimir Putin Is Ready For His Next Act

The Kremlin pulled all the levers to ensure a decisive vote. It won’t be as easy to dictate economic recovery or popular approval.

This man doesn’t need a successor.

This man doesn’t need a successor.

Photographer: Mikhail Klimentyev/AFP via Getty Images

After a week of voting, with plenty of inducements to get people to the polls, Russians have backed constitutional changes that could keep President Vladimir Putin in the Kremlin longer than Josef Stalin.

With most precincts now counted, the Central Election Commission says 78% of voters came out in favor and turnout was 65%. It’s almost too impressive — given the ongoing epidemic, economic crisis and questions about voting procedures — for the genuine popular endorsement the president craved. That assessment may take time.